September 12, 2013
Purple Tigers out to bounce back
Improved Solvay pays Friday visit
Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Cortland High’s Teddy Phillips looks to get past a couple of Waverly tacklers during last Sunday’s 29-20 Purple Tigers loss at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome. CHS hosts Solvay in its home opener Friday.
The Cortland High football team needs to bounce back fast, and coach Dave Darrow knows it isn’t going to be easy.
The Purple Tigers, who fell 29-20 to Waverly in their non-league season-opener at the Carrier Dome Sunday as part of the High School Kickoff Classic, host Solvay Friday in a 7 p.m. start at Moiseichik Field in their first Section 3 Class B West Division game.
The Bearcats lost a hard-fought 40-32 decision to Marcellus in the Dome contest preceding Cortland’s and have now dropped 24 straight stretching back to 2010, including a 27-6 setback at the hands of visiting CHS last fall.
Darrow, however, was impressed with what he saw from Solvay on Sunday. “They’re better than last year,” he said. “They have two players, their tailback Devlin White and a wide receiver Cody Pucell, who are like our Zach Whelan and Teddy Phillips. If we stop those two, we can win the game. Their quarterback, Brandon Franklin is okay, but those two made all the plays.”
Junior Devlin (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) carried the ball 14 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns against Marcellus, and also caught three passes for 72 yards and two more TDs. Senior Pucello (5-9, 165) caught four passes for 72 yards.
“I was extremely pleased with our performance Sunday,” Solvay coach Matt Shutts said. “The mistakes that we made on defense are easily corrected. We weren’t overpowered or outmatched, and our offense was the best I’ve seen it in a long time.
“Our line — center John Dippold (6-1, 245-pound junior), right guard Ian Sakran (5-10, 255 senior), right tackle Tyler Cardinell 6-5, 255 senior), left guard David Sayre (5-1, 200 junior) and left tackle Jacob Hook (6-5, 335 sophomore) — played a tremendous game. Brandon was phenomenal at quarterback, with 195 yards passing. At this level, you’re not going to match our speed in the backfield, with Devlin and Nick Cometti (5-8, 155 senior). And Cody is a good receiver.”
Shutts was also pleased with the offensive balance his team demonstrated out of its Veer offense, picking up 213 yards rushing and 213 passing in 60 offensive plays. Defensively, where Solvay goes out of a 4-3, he cited cornerbacks White, Cometti and Mat Lauro (5-6, 155 senior) for the play, along with defensive ends Cardinell and Dippold. The Bearcats utilize a 4-3 set on defense.
Darrow, meanwhile, was disappointed in his team’s execution, noting that a number of little mistakes were what cost Cortland the win against Waverly.
“We’ve put some stuff in, some new wrinkles, and we’re working hard to be ready,” he said. “We have to execute better, but we didn’t playa horrible game. Waverly is pretty good, and the kids know it. They went back at it in practice this week. This game will be fun to watch.”
Like Darrow, Shutts knows that Friday’s game will be no walk in the park for his squad.
“Cortland comes at you defensively, and they come fast,” he said. “They like to pound you up front and fly at you, forcing you to make quick decisions. They an disrupt things, with powerful kids up front and good linebackers. We have to make sure out kids are disciplined and stick to their assignments. If anyone doesn’t, we’re in trouble.
“Zach Whelan (5-10, 175 senior tailback ) is a good, powerful runner for Cortland. I’m a a little concerned about who will be at quarterback. Caden Giroux (5-9, 170 senior) has good control of the offense, but they looked a little special with Anthony Ricottilli (5-10, 155) in. He looks to be an extra threat.with a nice arm, and throws a very nice ball. His touchdown pass to Teddy Phillips (5-11, 175 senior wide receiver) was a beautiful play, and that concerns me.”
Whelan picked up a game-high 149 yards on 18 carries, including a 65-yard TD run. against Waverly. Giroux went 7-of-13 for 92 yards and scored a rushing TD while Ricottilli went 3-of-8 in the air for 61 yards, including the 42-yard scoring connection with Phillips that Shutts mentioned.
Due to the state’s seven-day rule concerning practices and games, neither team was able to practice Monday, giving each three days to prepare for Friday’s contest. “We’ve seen a little bit of film on them and also saw them Sunday,” Darrow said. “We’ve got everything we need.”
“We had to plan ahead of time as coaches, looking at past films,” Shutts said. “Then we watched Cortland at the Dome and talked to the kids, knowing we had to separate Marcellus and Cortland and get them to focus on this game. All we discussed during the summer and preseason was Marcellus. Monday we started talking about Cortland.”
Darrow was still waiting to see whether defensive end Tyrmaine Dugger (5-9, 188) would be cleared from a hand injury to play. If not, he said, junior linebacker Chace Bentley (5-9, 180) would move to take his place and his spot would in turn be filled by senior Jordan Smith (5-10, 175). The status of senior Nick Cafararo (5-8, 160) was also up in the air due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the first quarter against Waverly.
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